Romania, Last in the EU Regarding the Expected Duration of Working Life
Romania was placed last among the EU Member States regarding the expected duration of working life, according to data provided by Eurostat for 2021. The duration of 31.3 years was lower than in Italy (31.6 years), Greece (32.9 years), Bulgaria (33.1 years) and Croatia (33.5 years). The highest durations in the EU were recorded in the Netherlands (42.5 years), Sweden (42.3 years) and Denmark (40.3 years).
Last year, the expected average duration of working life for 15-year-olds was 36.0 years. The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark had the longest expected duration of working life in 2021, each with more than 40 years. With 38.2 years of expected duration of working life for men, and 33.7 years for women, the gender gap was 4.5 years. Over the last 20 years, the gender gap at EU level for the expected duration of working life decreased from 7.0 years in 2001.
Expected average duration of working life, 2021
The indicator for duration of working life is an estimation of the number of years a person, at the current age of 15 years, is expected to be in the labour force (i.e. to be employed or unemployed) throughout his or her life. It aims to provide a different angle on the labour market, looking at the entire lifecycle of persons in the labour force rather than on specific states in the lifecycle, such as youth unemployment or early withdrawal from the labour force.
Since 2001, the expected average duration of working life steadily increased in the EU, then declined for the first time in 2020 because of the COVID-19 health crisis (from 32.0 years in 2001 to 35.9 years in 2019, then down to 35.6 years in 2020) to come back in 2021 to its pre-pandemic level.
For men, the expected duration of working life was on average 38.2 years in the EU, with the longest durations recorded in the Netherlands (44.3 years) and Sweden (43.6 years), and the shortest in Bulgaria (34.6 years) and Romania (35.0 years). For women, the average duration of working life in the EU was 33.7 years, with the longest durations also recorded in Sweden (41.0 years) and the Netherlands (40.5 years), but the shortest in Italy (26.9 years) and Romania (27.4 years).
Although men are expected to work longer than women, the gender gap has reduced in the EU with the growing participation of women in the labour market (the gender gap was +4.5 years in 2021 compared with +7.0 years in 2001). In 2021, this gender gap was most pronounced in Italy (+9.1 years), followed by Malta (+8.4 years) and Romania (+7.6 years). Lithuania was the only EU Member State where the gender gap was negative, with women usually working 1.3 years more than men, while Estonia (+0.1 years), Latvia (+0.8 years) and Finland (+1.1 years) had very small gender gaps.
All in all, we hold the second place, both for men and women, within the shortest duration of working life, while we have the third gender gap in this respect. Which means, that, apart from the work productivity per employee and the technological level, we have an important untapped resource in extending the working life of the available workforce, in order to boost the contribution of the human factor in economic development.